“Orphan” wells, investing in infrastructure, and high tech coal; Also, will oil sanctions mean a big gas bill for Memorial Day travel?

In Home, News by wp_sysadmin

State agencies at odds over new law to address ‘orphan’ oil wells
Elizabeth Harball, KTOO, May 22, 2019

A few small oil companies have gone bankrupt in Alaska in recent years, leaving the state or other landowners on the hook for cleaning up the wells they left behind. So this month, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission started requiring oil and gas companies to put up substantially higher bonds to cover the wells they have drilled. After a years-long push to update the law, the commission raised the bond amount to between $400,000 and $30 million, depending on how many wells a company has. Previously, the bond requirement was capped at $200,000. But a different state agency — the Department of Natural Resources — is criticizing the new law and asking for it to be rescinded.

Our take: We have listened to many committee hearings where legislators ask, “Why is there so much talk about uncertain regulations?” Continual changes like this are counterproductive to investment in the state. No one advocates against strict regulations and responsible development, but as DNR states, these bonds would certainly be “unduly burdensome” to smaller operators.

The Critical Importance of Investing in American Energy Infrastructure
Robin Rorick, RealClear Energy, May 22, 2019

For these reasons and more, demand for natural gas and oil has grown across the country. Upgrading our nation’s pipelines, storage tanks, export terminals, waterways, ports and more, is vital to delivering the reliable and affordable flow of energy resources we all count on to cook our food, heat our homes and improve the quality of our lives. The United States leads the world in natural gas and oil production, yet there are manufacturers, businesses and American families in parts of the country who aren’t adequately connected to America’s energy abundance – and won’t be without new and/or expanded state of the art pipelines and other infrastructure to deliver energy to markets and consumers.

Our take: As mentioned, many of these infrastructure improvements are beneficial in that they improve the safety and efficiency of energy transport, therefore lowering the opportunity for spills and providing many skilled labor jobs for the US. A win-win in our opinion.

Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, May 23, 2019 

  • Iranian plans to disrupt the oil trade will likely involve hampering the world’s busiest oil choke point: the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Disrupting the oil trade could send oil prices upward, making it more expensive for Americans to fill up their gas tanks.
  • It’s part of Iran’s plan to make the U.S. feel economic pain and divide the international community over sanctions.

Alaska energy lease sales draw meager interest: officials
Yereth Rosen, Reuters, May 22, 2019

Hilcorp Energy Company’s Alaska unit submitted bids for three tracts comprising 10,286 acres in the Cook Inlet region, said Kyle Smith, leasing manager for the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas. About 4 million acres of offshore and onshore territory was offered in the Cook Inlet sale.  It was the poorest showing for the state’s annual Cook Inlet lease sale since 2016, when no bids were submitted. Cook Inlet sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014 attracted spirited bidding.

Related: Hilcorp lone Cook Inlet bidder for third straight year

Report: Coal’s revival is in high tech
Amy Harder, Axios, May 23, 2019

A new report commissioned by the Energy Department recommends promoting coal for use in other, higher tech ways than electricity. It finds that coal can be refined into what can seem like limitless products, but the ones with the most growth potential include:

  • Carbon fiber as a lighter weight and stronger replacement for steel and aluminum in cars, wind turbines and more.
  • Rare earth minerals, which are used in a wide variety of renewable energy technologies.
  • Graphene, a material used in medical devices.